So, you’ve been doing some research online and have come across the deadlift.
You’ve been learning the form and rehearsing the technique in your head.
Except, when you get to the gym, you start to wonder…
Do I just grab a bar and pick a random spot? Are there rules when it comes to this?
You’re wondering – where exactly in the gym do I deadlift?
The best places in the gym to deadlift are the lifting platform, the functional training area or in front of squat rack. You should avoid deadlifting in the warm up area, free weights area or the group fitness studio.
It’s important to know these areas well, so that you can confidently deadlift in any gym you step foot in.
Let’s dive in.
| Where to Deadlift in the Gym
Deadlifting is an exercise that requires a lot of courage when you’re first starting out.
Not only is it quite technical, but there is also a lot of set up required to get started.
You need a bar, multiple weight plates, barbell collars…
As well as a space to do it.
Furthermore, deadlifts take up a substantial amount of space due to the long barbell used.
If you can’t easily identify a clear gym deadlift area, don’t give up.
In fact, it might be worth asking some staff members where they suggest you perform this exercise.
But if you’re ever in doubt, we hope this article gives you some insight.
Here are some ideal places to deadlift at the gym:
The Lifting Platform
The ideal area for deadlifting is the lifting platform.
Now, it’s important to note that most basic commercial gyms may not have this.
What makes lifting platforms great is that they are purpose built for heavy lifting.
They have a wooden floor which is easy to grip and easy to push force through.
As well as a rubber outside to absorb the weight of the plates when they hit the ground.
Furthermore, they usually have weights right next to them, and give you plenty of space to work with.
Here’s what a lifting platform looks like at the gym:
The Functional Training Area
The second best place to deadlift is the functional training area.
Again, keep in mind that not all basic big box gyms will have this area.
This training area often has kettlebells, battle ropes, sleds and cages.
It will either have rubber matting or astro turf on the ground.
It almost looks like the ‘CrossFit’ area of the gym.
It’s great for deadlifting because there’s plenty of room and the floor is force absorbent.
Here’s what the functional training area looks like:
In Front of the Squat Rack
If you don’t have access to the aforementioned ideal locations, you should look for the squat rack.
The great thing is that 99% of gyms will have at least one squat rack.
This is the cage like contraption with various bars and weights attached either to it or beside it.
Ideally, you should set up at the front of the squat rack, as this will give you plenty of room to work with.
This also allows someone else to use the inside of the squat rack to squat while you deadlift, making best use of space.
Here’s what deadlifting in front of the squat rack would look like:
Inside the Squat Rack
If space doesn’t allow you enough room to deadlift in front of the squat rack.
Or if this is a thoroughfare that gym members regularly transit.
You may need to deadlift inside of the squat rack.
This is still a perfectly fine place to deadlift, with easy access to bars and weights close by.
First and foremost, a traditional deadlift should be performed from the floor..
So make sure that you get rid of any safety bars in the way of achieving full range of motion.
Here’s what deadlifting inside the squat rack would look like:
Wherever You Can Find Space
As a last resort, if the gym is under-resourced and busy with other members.
You can resort to other locations around the gym, wherever you can find an adequate space to deadlift.
Remember that a typical barbell is 2.2m long (7 feet) long and can take up a substantial amount of room.
So make sure you give your chosen space a quick mental measured.
And ensure you’re not blocking any thoroughfares.
Alternatively, you can simply wait for a previously mentioned deadlifting area to become free again.
| Where to Avoid Deadlifts in the Gym
In my years of experience lifting in the gym myself…
As well as working with large groups of clients in small areas as a coach..
Here are a few areas I recommend avoiding when it comes to deadlifting.
This will ensure you keep yourself (and others) happy and safe.
The Group Fitness Studio
Sometimes as a beginner, you might be inclined to find a quiet, secluded space to practise a new exercise.
One such area is the group fitness studio when it’s not being used for classes.
However, this area does not have the right surface for dropping a heavy deadlift bar.
As it’s usually equipped with either wooden floorboards or hard flooring.
The Free Weights Area
Next up, I would avoid deadlifting in or near the free weights area.
This is because this area is usually one of the busiest in the gym.
You’ve got people moving around, lifting unstable objects, and it’s also typically quite congested with many people crammed in a small space.
Most gyms also don’t have the weight plates and barbells close by, meaning you’ll end up lugging weights large distances.
The Warm Up Area or Cardio Area
The warm up and cardio areas are a safe haven for many people.
They’re a place for people to get into the zone and warm up for their workout to come.
As well as for people to unwind and slow down as they finish up their session.
Having someone come in and deadlift right beside them isn’t ideal.
And similar to the free weights area, the barbells and weights are usually not very close by.